COMING SOON: SketchQuest Character Q&A

With the excitement on here going around for my pet project SketchQuest, I’ve decided to build it up even more by hosting a Q&A allowing up to 15 questions for Nedford, Thistle, or Ira to answer for you. I can’t give out a precise date as to when it’ll be out, but I’m definetely aiming for at least somewhere around the first week of November. Now with that said, feel free to ask away!

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SketchQuest!

If you recall back to my One Lovely Blog reward article, you’ll probably remember that I had announced that I was in the process of making a video game of my own while also revealing the main antagonist of it. While I’ve decided to put that project on the backburner for now, as I feel that the premise and characters in it need some refining, I’ve had a ton of other ideas brewing in my head as well. One of them is an idea for an RPG that I’ve had called SketchQuest, a pitch bible for which can be read here. Be sure to lend me your thoughts and opinions!

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Top 5 Worst Video Game Character Redesigns

When a franchise evolves, it’s important that the characters in it evolve as well. While many are successful in recieving a fresh, new look while still managing to resemble themselves enough, there are some cases in which it turns out to be for the worse, and that’s where THESE redesigns come in. So, get ready to want to beat the crap out of the nearest corporate executive, as I list off the Top 5 Worst Video Game Character Redesigns.

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NO. 5: Knuckles (Sonic Boom)

I’m not fond of Sonic Boom for a fairly large amount of reasons, and Knuckles’ design in it is one of them. While I can get behind how Big Red Button wanted to put more of an emphasis on his strength, it can’t save the end results from landing a spot on this list. For starters, look at that chest…not only does it look enlarged to downright uncanny levels, but it also contrasts heavily with the lankier legs, resulting in the proportions looking…well, awkward, to say the least. Maybe if they took it easy on the chest and shortened him a bit, I wouldn’t have a problem with it the way I do. But alas, knowing Sega, they have to make a thousand mistakes first, and good decisions second. Sorry Knux, but this is what happens when you skip leg day.

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NO. 4: Pac-Man (Pac-Man Party/Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures)

I don’t really know what it is about this design that bothers me so much, but if I had to say at least one specific thing about it, it’s that it just looks off. It’s very obvious that they’re trying to emulate the Sonic franchise’s art style starting from the Adventure games, and if you ask me it’s a pretty miserable attempt. Just because a style suits one franchise, that doesn’t mean that it’ll magically suit any other franchise on the flip of a dime. Look at the animation for the Powerpuff Girls reboot for example; in contrast to the original show’s more dynamic, Hanna-Barbera-esque art style, the reboot goes for one that’s more akin to…well, just about every cartoon since Adventure Time, resulting in a clash of styles that doesn’t really work. Aside from that, he looks kind of creepy as well. I’m not sure if it’s the eyes, but there’s the lingering feeling that something isn’t right. Thank Intellivision that he had his original design in Smash ’14. Regardless, I suggest that you all hold on tight, because this is where it REALLY starts to get bad…

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NO. 3: Conker (Young Conker)

Okay, first things first, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT HEAD!? Seriously, it looks like someone stuck an air pump into his mouth! As a side note, those freakishly thin arms and legs, and those eyes… just… let’s move on before I get night terrors.

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NO. 2: Spyro (Skylanders)

My thoughts exactly, Squidward. Just…LOOK AT THAT THING!!! Last time I heard, Spyro was supposed to be a dragon, right? I mean, I’m pretty freaking sure that he’s not supposed to look like a horrifically malformed gargoyle that got painted on and somehow gained a life of its’ own. Even considering the fact that my hatred towards the Skylanders franchise has died down (which is really mostly due to the recent Crash Bandicoot cameo and level pack, and praise the great gaming lords that he didn’t get this treatment in terms of design), I just can’t let go of just how awful this design is! And what makes this even worse is how this wasn’t even meant to be Spyro in the first place. While development of the first Skylanders game was underway, this was originally supposed to be an entirely different character called Fire Dragon, and Spyro himself was going to be an NPC. I don’t know what else to say other than…ugh, just ugh.

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NO. 1: Bomberman (Bomberman: Act Zero)

You know what? Even regarding all of the huge, glaring flaws with the rest of the designs on this list, at least – AT LEAST – they resemble their source characters in one way or another. This? I’m not even sure if the people behind this even played a Bomberman game, let alone heard of one! I couldn’t care less if Konami and Hudson Soft wanted to “update him for an older audience”, there’s absolutely no excuse to take a character as adorable yet badass as Bomberman and turn him into this generic, focus group-reeking, apalling bastard child of Master Chief and Samus! The only good thing that can be said about this…thing is that after his debut game flopped hard, he was locked away in the deepest, darkest corners of the industry, never to be seen again. And for that, we have bettered ourselves as human beings.

Are there any particular video game character redesigns that push your buttons? Be sure to post your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. 

While You Wait For Mania And Project 2017, Check Out This Immensely Promising 3D Sonic Fan Game

Following a brief detour with the likes of Lost World and Boom, the Sonic franchise thankfully appears to be on the path to recovery once again. However, while we’ll have to wait and see if the two games set for release next year can truly deliever on the hype, that doesn’t mean that fans of the hedgehog are bankrupt in terms of content that will satisfy them for the time being. And as it turns out, Sonic Utopia just so happens to be that.

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Having been revealed as the big mystery project of 2016’s SAGE (for those who are unaware, it’s an internet convention for Sonic fan games), Utopia aims to bring the style of the original Genesis/Mega Drive trilogy and CD into an open-world 3D format while also expanding upon the groundbreaking formula that they brought to the platforming genre. In essence, it’s a bit like Sonic Robo Blast 2 in terms of concept, but it still manages to be its’ own unique thing at the same time. There isn’t a release date set for the project, and there probably won’t be for a long, long time, but there’s a demo available if you want to try it for yourselves. If you ask me, this could really be something special – and this is coming from someone who doesn’t even like most of the Sonic games outside of the original games! Not only are the music and art style beautifully nostalgic, but it also succeeds in bringing the charm of the originals into a third-dimensional format. You know, given how the ports of the originals and  Mania have actual longtime fans of the franchise attached to them, something tells me it won’t be long until Sega tries to get in contact with these guys as well.

What are your thoughts on this valiant effort to bring the hedgehog’s most cherished outings into a fresh new light? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. 

retr0spective: Sucker Punch Productions (Part Two)

In late 2002, SP released the first installment in what was to become their most iconic franchise, as well as their first Sony-exclusive game, Sly Cooper and the Thevius Raccoonus (or Sly Raccoon in Australia and Europe).

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Taking place in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, the game’s plot revolves around the titular Sly Cooper, a young raccoon who is the leader of a trio of criminals known as the Cooper Gang, who embarks on a journey that spans across the globe to recover his family’s sacred book. Unfortunately, once again there isn’t a whole lot of information about the development. However, like Rocket I was still able to find some very interesting tidbits. One of the most vital elements of the game is its’ visual aesthetic; to help bring the environments and characters to life in a vivid fashion while also managing to keep the distinct graphical form of a PS2 game, the folks at SP utilized a specific form of cel-shading known as “toon-shading”, a term that was aptly coined by Mr. Flemming. In addition to this, the soundtrack also has a wide range of influences, most notably that of famed animation composers such as Henry Mancini, Carl Stalling, and Yoko Kanno. Sly’s cane was also originally meant to have other forms such as a hose, but this ended up being scrapped. The Japanese version of the game has also been noted for its’ vastly different animated cutscenes, in comparison to the more comic-book-esque cutscenes in the other versions. When the game was released, it was met with a rather positive reception, with most of the praise going to the visuals and the stealth-centric gameplay. Although the game didn’t manage to impress in terms of sales, it eventually managed to gain an audience, granting it a 2003 re-release under the “Greatest Hits” label, as well as three sequels (one of which not developed by SP), a cancelled spin-off, and a film adaptation that is either on hold or also cancelled, as we have barely heard anything about the latter since its’ announcement in 2014.

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To be continued…

BONUS QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the newly-revealed Nintendo Switch? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below. 

COMING SOON: Top 5 Biggest Sony Pictures Screw-Ups

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Some of you might know by now that I have quite the disdain for Sony Pictures, the film division of one of the leading Japanese business organizations. And while I won’t go too far into detail as to why (I’ll let this article from a while back do most of the talking) , I can definetely say that they are, in my opinion, the LJN of the film industry. From their inability to learn from their mistakes, the unacceptable treatment of their employees, and the insipid, blatantly corporate nature of their films, they always manage to find new ways to establish themselves as an utter laughingstock. Soon, I’ll be starting up production on an article that will not only showcase their biggest moments of ineptitude, but also maybe – just maybe – prevent another film organization from heading down the path that they’re currently going. As of now, I can’t say when it’ll be out, but hopefully sometime late into the month. If not, then I’ll try to aim sometime around November.

retr0pia75 & The One Lovely Blog Award

Once again, I have been granted the pleasant honor of recieving a nomination! This time around, I’d like to thank my good friend DeLuxODonnell92, the creator of Blogspot and WordPress sites respectively titled Kyle’s Animated World and Kyle Loves Animation And More.  In addition to knowing a lot about all sorts of media, he’s also just a really great guy to talk to in general. Be sure to check his stuff out and also follow him on Twitter!

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For those who are unaware, the One Lovely Blog Award is a nomination in which the person who is presented with it must state a total of seven tidbits about yourself, then followed by nominating another blog, thus continuing an endless cycle. With that said, let us get to the facts…

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NO. 1 – I Vastly Prefer Dry Cereal

I honestly have no clue why, but I always found cereal with milk to be completely disgusting. Maybe it’s because of the sogginess, or how most of the time the taste of the cereal doesn’t go well with milk at all, who knows.

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NO. 2 – I Don’t Think The Mega Man Games Are That Great (For The Most Part)

Now before you say anything, let me make it clear that this doesn’t mean I don’t hate them or generally think of them as bad games – far from it, actually. I find them to be fun and unique titles in their own right, but I feel like a lot of them (especially the NES games) can get somewhat repetitive and often abuse the cheap difficulty tatic of game design. However, there are certain exceptions to this. The Mega Man X series is one that I would truly go on to claim as great, and the Zero spin-off games aren’t half-bad either.

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NO. 3 – I Really, Really Love Animals

But even then, I’m not quite sure who doesn’t. In addition to being capaable of amazing biological and physical feats, they can also make unbelievably loyal companions and are also fascinating to research.

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NO. 4 – I’m A Huge Soda Addict

Once I sip a can of one of them, I literally cannot put it down. Seriously, that’s how severe it is. Although I do make efforts to reduce it from my diet once in a while, I still can’t help to have a thirst from it.

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NO . 5 – Unless They’re In Proper Hands, I Think That Video Games Should Remain As Video Games

Let’s be honest – video games are a medium that will never truly find any solid ground in terms of adaptations. In addition to frequently BARELY resembling their source games, most of the ones that are more faithful to their source games aren’t that great either. Maybe one day this trope will be subverted, but I ain’t getting my hopes up.

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NO. 6 – I’m Not A Sonic Fan

Yeah, I have to come clean and admit it. While I absolutely adore the Genesis trilogy and CD and enjoyed some of the other titles in the franchise, I honestly think that most of them range from being mediocre, to bad, to levels of wretchedness that no game should ever be allowed to achieve. It doesn’t help either that when you really think about it, some of them like Heroes and Lost World have legitimately great ideas but end up falling short. If you enjoy the franchise, no harm done. But for the most part, it simply isn’t my cup of tea.

(However, I am greatly looking forward to Mania and Project 2017.)

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NO. 7 – I’m Planning On Making A Game Of My Own One Day

If there’s one thing that I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was a youngling, it’s contributing to my favorite entertainment medium of all time. A couple of years back, I actually created a batch of characters for a potential gaming media franchise (the antagonist of whom I revealed in a tweet not too many days ago). I really want this project to grow into something more in the future, and once I get a hold of an engine (preferably Unity or Unreal Engine), I can get started on it. With that said, I hope you all enjoy what I’m going to be revealing very soon.

THE NOMINEES:

I Played The Game

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The Shameful Narcissist

THE RULES:

  1. Write an article accepting the award.
  2. Thank the person you nominated you and put a link to their blog.
  3. Tell the reader seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate other blogs for the award.
  5. Let them know that you nominated them.
  6. Post the rules to let your followers know how it works.